There are various types of elements:
- Those that are critical to health, for example:
- potassium and sodium – critical for proper heart function.
- Calcium or magnesium are crucial for bone development.
- Those that are toxic, for example mercury, cadmium and lead.
It is important to understand the difference between essential and toxic elements.
Essential elements include calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, phosphorus, potassium, iron and magnesium. These essential nutrients are required for various cellular processes in the body.
Toxic elements aka ‘heavy metals’ include arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, which can significantly interfere with normal biological processes specifically impacting the function of the nervous system.
A healthy status is dependent on having high levels of the essential nutrient elements and low levels of the toxic elements.
RISK FACTORS FOR TOXIC METAL EXPOSURE
- Plumbing – contact with lead pipes
- Lead-based paints (in buildings built before 1978 and is the predominant source for children)
- Foods grown in lead-rich soil
- Sea Food – consumption of fish or shellfish contaminated with methylmercury (includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish, bass, walleye, pickerel)
- Workplace – Breathing contaminated workplace air or skin contact during use in the workplace
- Dental Fillings – Release of mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings
- Tobacco smoke
- Foods containing cadmium (levels are highest in grains, legumes, and leafy vegetables, fish and shellfish)
- Household products (electric batteries and solar panels)
Some occupations might increase one’s exposure to heavy metals – including:
- Construction work
- Radiator repair shops
- Firing ranges
Toxic elements can also be found in household products and can contribute to ill health.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAVY METAL EXPOSURE?
Signs and symptoms will vary depending on the type and quantity of metal exposure. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Anxiety and/or Depression
- Behavioral changes
- Heart Disease
- In Pregnant Women – miscarriage, premature labor
- Kidney damage
- Liver disease
- Mees lines (horizontal lines on nails)
- Malformation of bones in children or weakened bones
- Memory loss or other brain dysfunction
- Neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling in hands and feet, weakness, abnormal gait
- Respiratory problems due to fluid accumulation in lungs
The Heavy Metal Testing offered at NHC is an easy and inexpensive way to measure the levels of both essential and toxic elements. Our practitioners will work with you to restore a healthy level of elements for optimal health function.